Gihan Ebert will lead the Antonians this year | Daily News

Gihan Ebert will lead the Antonians this year

St. Anthony’s College, the first school to resume cricket in Kandy this year after a break of nearly eleven months played their second game that too was a friendly on Thursday and Friday against Thurstan College in Colombo. On the first day Antonians taking the first turn made 227 and Thurstan College at the end of the first day were 29 for 4 at stumps.

Antonians have been a competitive force in cricket since their admission in 1903. The team has played fearless, positive, and an aggressive brand of cricket and is considered as one of the top teams this year, and are led by a fine right -hand bat and a right arm off spin bowler Gihan Ebert who is considered to be a top player to have played for last four years. The all-rounder has given a good display to score runs and wickets he is an automatic due to his all-round skills. This time too they are lucky that the side has a talented coach Suneth Gayan Gunthilaka,

This time in the tournament they are in division one Group Z with Nalanda College, S. Thomas” College, Richmond College, Maliyadeva College and Prince of Wales in the inter-school under 19 tournament.

The first round league games will start on March 15 and end on April 9th and the final round will be after Sinhala and Tamil New Year. Last year their most important game the big match against Trinity College which would have been the 104th encounter was not played, This time they are hoping to play it.

Cricket was introduced to St. Anthony’s by Rev Fr. Andrew Van Landenberg O.S.B. in 1903, and a team known as ‘St. Anthony’s College Cricket Club’ consisting of staff and schoolboys was formed under the captaincy of Fr. Andrew himself. The inaugural match was played against Colombo Carlton Cricket Club. . The very first inter-school match was played against Dharmaraja College in 1904.

This school has been one of the premier cricket playing schools in the island for over a century and has produced some brilliant cricketers and a majority of these players represented the country and premier league clubs with distinction. Antonians boast of a very rich cricketing history dating back to 1903. The very first inter-school cricket match was played against Dharmaraja College, Kandy, which was won by the Antonians by 109 runs.. Since then, Antonians have dominated the school arena up to around 1993. Antonian cricket came into lime light during the 1916/1920 period, which is most appropriately called the Jack Anderson era,the charismatic batsman, who was the hero of almost every game that was played in that era and his record individual score of 291 runs against S Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia has not been broken in a top division game to date. Further, SACK have the honour of producing the first ever ‘Schoolboy Cricketer’ in 1956 Wijepala Premaratne. Since then, they have produced six more‘Schoolboy Cricketers’ , namely Charlie Joseph ( 1960 and1961),Franklyn Burke(1962), Bernard Perera (1976), Muttiah Muralitharan (1991), Sajith Fernando(1992). This is a remarkable achievement for an outstation school that plays in the premier league.

During the pre test era St. Anthony’s produced many more prominent cricketers like A.C.M.Lafir, Ronnie Stephens,Doranegama Brothers and Sims Brothers, who should have been automatic choices to the National team then.

Since, Sri Lanka obtained test status many Antonians have represented the country. Mahesh Gunathilake who led the Antonians in 1971 had the honour of being the first wicket keeper in the inaugural test match against England in 1982 played at Sara Stadium. . Apart from Mahesh, Ruwan Kalpage,Piyal Wijetunga and Muttiah Muralitharan are the other Antonians who went onto play for Sri Lanka with distinction. Incidentally, all three of them who played in the same team in school had the privilege of representing the country in a test match played at Tyronne Fernando Stadium, in Moratuwa.

The other cricketers who excelled for Antonians were Angelo Liyanage, Pradeep Fernando, MarlonVonhagt, Rienzie Perera, Damian Nadaraja, Angelo Wickramasooriya, Nuwan Kalpage, Indika Galagoda and Prasad Ranawaka to name a few. St. Anthony’s College, Kandy has also the distinction of producing the world’s greatest spin bowler, Muttiah Muralitharan and his record of 800 wickets in Test cricket will remain for many more years.

This year Gihan Ebert is leading the side with Nimnaka Jayathilake as his deputy, The rest in the squad are Chamindu Wickremasinghe, Asitha Wanninayake, Mohammed Kamil, Tharindu Imahewage. Chandimal Herath, Anjala Bandara, Lahiru Abeysinghe,.Divyesh Ramiah, Yasiru Gamarachchi, .Bimsara Jayasekara, .Damitha Bandara, Kaneesha Rajapaksa , Jayodya Amarasena, Kavindu Bandara, Kaveesha Piyumal, Janith Rathnasiri, Mohamed Aqil, Sashenka Mathew, Ishara Maduwantha, Dinura Ganegoda, Ravindu Kasthuriarachchi, Induwara Galapitageand Thisara Ekanayake. (Coach) Suneth Gayan Gunthilaka, (Assistant Coach) Susantha Basnayake, (Trainer) Priyantha Kuamra.